A double-deadline for the lawmakers drawing Ohio's new state house and senate maps. The Ohio Redistricting Commission had until midnight last night to pass the third version of the maps. The commission then had until 9am today to get those maps into the hands of the Ohio Supreme Court for review. But Thursday afternoon the commission adjourned without passing any new maps.
The court threw out the first two efforts saying they did not meet the constitutional reforms passed by voters to eliminate gerrymandering and make elections fairer. The court ordered the commission to adopt maps that reflect Ohio's voting split which is about 54% Republican and 46% Democratic.
Statewide primary races are not impacted by the map delays. Everyone votes on races such as United States Senator and Governor. But the delays caused by the litigation over the maps is putting the May 3 primary in jeopardy according to Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
Ohio lawmakers held the first hearing this week on a backpack bill. The bill would expand educational vouchers for K-through-12 students to attend private schools using state dollars. The Ohio House Finance Committee held the first hearing on the bill. Supporters of the bill say it will give students and parents more choice in education.
COVID-19 cases continue to trend downward here in Cuyahoga County, Summit County and statewide. This week Cuyahoga County dropped from a "high" level of community transmission to "substantial" based on the Centers for Disease Control's benchmark's for community spread of COVID-19. The CDC also lists Summit County as having substantial spread. Statewide the daily case count dropped below 2,000 on Thursday this week. During the omicron surge case counts were above 9-thousand almost daily and some days higher than that.
Electric vehicle or EV technology is a hot-button for consumers and policy makers alike. A new bill in the statehouse would encourage more electric vehicle production and sales in Ohio. Bill sponsor, Senator Michael Rulli--a Republican from Salem-- says the measure positions Ohio to be part of the more than 330-billion in E-V investment that automakers plan to make over the next three years.
Marlene Harris-Taylor, Managing Producer for Health, Ideastream Public Media
Kabir Bhatia, Senior Reporter, WKSU
Andy Chow, Statehouse News Bureau Correspondent, Ohio Public Radio/TV